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It can't be surprising to anyone with a smart phone (or has been on any form of public transportation) that mobile gaming is on the rise. Developers are scrambling to get the next big hit like Draw Something as the mobile and social game giants, Rovio and Zynga, are continuing to dominate the market.  

According to a new infographic by businessdegree.net, more than $12 billion was generated by mobile gaming in 2011 with 34% of the top grossing apps in the app store using the freemium model. Once someone is hooked, they'll continue to spend a few dollars to continue to enhance their play. On average freemium games make $12.92 a month per user. 

This type of behavior is what is making this business so profitable. I'll admit mobile gaming has made my journeys into work a lot less tedious and I don't blink at paying $1.99 for something to entertain me for a few hours. It's cheaper than a book and lives in my phone.

Users don't realize how their small purchase will affect a business. But multiply my single purchase of $1.99 by a million users and it's easy to see why mobile game development is on the up. Take Tiny Tower for instance. In its first year, it made more than $3 million from in-app purchases alone. 

Marketers are jumping on board by advertising with the big players. Angry birds makes $6 million a month from ads alone.

The next step could be more brands teaming up with game developers to create popular mobile games. Not only could it make a tidy profit, but it will get more eyes on its product. It already happens in the movies, with traditional games, and more recently, web series, so it won't be long until mobile gaming follows suit.

Note: In the infographic below, the number of hours below should read 4.5 and not 14.5.

Heather Taylor

Published 18 April, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

236 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Grace Montage

Games are evolving and it always gets our attention no matter what age you belong. It's ageless. The mobile app for games is just another channel where we can play. Another thing is that mobile app game serves as a platform to be entertained, to be distracted and to have fun at the same time.

about 5 years ago



£6 million a month. Not £6 billion!

about 5 years ago


Brendan Lee

Touche Rich. I think RIM Blackberry is supposed to say 4.5 hours too.

I struggle to see the value in some of these infographics. For example, "Percentage of app downloaders who paid for an app" would surely be far simpler to read as a bar chart than as a figure showing coins with $ on them. Surely the point of these infographics is to make stats easier to digest rather than harder?

As for the picture of 50 pencils x 1,000,000 - why?!!!

Otherwise, a very interesting article. It's obviously an area of huge growth, especially when you think that smartphones still have so much market left to capture.

about 5 years ago


Mark Gavalda

"Angry birds makes $6 billion a month from ads alone." And that makes them the most valuable company in the world... wait, what!? :-)

Great infographic, I'm a bit disappointed in mobile game development though, none of the games are even close to using the true power of current generation devices, not to mention 4-core ones that are being released now (or shortly)...

about 5 years ago

Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor, Editorial Director at Econsultancy

Sorry guys - I guess I got over excited about Angry Birds :) Typo is fixed and added a note about the incorrect Rim number. As for the pencils...well designers like to play too and as its Draw Something's logo, I don't mind much.

As for the games themselves, I do think they have a long way to go but I think some developers are heading in the right direction. Now that crowd sourcing has allowed some game creators to break away from studios, games like Run Zombie Run are coming (keeping fit and killing Zombies - I can't wait to play) and there are more coming. I personally think a lot are style and no substance, but as industry dollars shift from films to gaming, I hope that's a sign that mobile is on its way to a better place.

about 5 years ago

Jeremy Spiller

Jeremy Spiller, MD at Econsultancy Guest Access TRAININGSmall Business Multi-user

I recently read somewhere that a mobile app generates on average a little over £5000 yet every third person I meet seems to either be building one or has an idea for one and of course there are also those who are building apps that help non programmers build apps.

Of course the Android market is now awash with apps that are lousy and worse than that, apps that are dodgy.

This is a bubble that's getting bigger and bigger and will inevitably of course burst.

And businesses and brands are also jumping on board and there are apps out there that are unbelievably silly and pointless.

My advice to anyone thinking about building an app whether bedroom bandit or big brand is to take a deep breath and think very carefully before leaping.

No doubt there is another Angry Birds out there but it's worth bearing in mind that the people who wrote Angry Birds had already had a few failures before they hit platinum with that one.

Angry Birds is indeed the Rolling Stones (One Direction if you prefer) of the mobile apps business but remember for every Rolling Stones there are hundred of thousands of people whose bands never made it and then simply gave up.

about 5 years ago

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